Syed Kirmani has found himself in hot water after his U-turn on eye donation. The former India wicketkeeper had promised to donate his eyes during an awareness campaign organised in Chennai on Saturday by Rotary Rajan Eye Bank and Rotary Club of Madras but later took his pledge back citing religious reasons.
"I am an emotional and sentimental person. I was so touched by Rajan's (Dr Mohan Rajan) initiative that I pledged to donate my eyes. However, I might not be able to honour my commitment due to some religious values. And not everyone in India honours their pledge. But it shouldn't deter others in coming forward to donate their eyes," he told the Times of India following a change of heart.
Kirmani's fickleness on the matter is likely to drive many cricket fans into cynicism. The World Cup winner had earlier said: "Naanen kankalai dhaanam seikiren, neengalum kan thaanam seiyungal (I am donating my eyes, you too donate your eyes)."
"The thought of donating your eyes only comes when you have come of age. Rajan is doing a yeoman service by helping others see the light of the world and I realised the importance of this cause. If more known faces like us come forward for this cause, it would be really helpful."
Kirmani revealed he was an "unofficial" ambassador of India's blind cricket team and at an event recently he was impressed by the players' dedication and determination, and that had played a big role in his making the pledge.
“I was invited to give them a pep talk before they departed for Dubai [for the World Cup]. I saw their dedication and determination and was pleasantly surprised. That encouraged me to join the cause of donating eyes. I will also be flying to Dubai to inspire the team further," he said.